Charlie Rose

Weekdays 11:30 PM on PBS Premiered Jan 01, 1991 In Season





Charlie Rose Fan Reviews (11)

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  • Scalia's defense of Originalism could be associated with the history of the Catholic Church versus Protestantism and the rise of the Enlightenment.

    I enjoyed watching last night's interview with Justice Antonin Scalia and your attempts to probe the reasonings of what he calls originalism regarding the U.S. Constitution.

    I wonder if Justice Scalia would have agreed that the differences between originalism versus the living constitutionalists was similar to the history of the Catholic Church versus the rise of Protestantism?? After all, the Church virtually ruled Christianity for about 1500 years, establishing an institution (and therefore a tradition) not only to safeguard the interpretation of scriptures but to anoint figure-heads of Jesus Christ (Is this not a form of absolutism?? Who would dare to argue with Christ himself!!) to make further clarifications of what the scriptures actually meant, not only for individuals but for governments as well; this, in contrast to the rise of Protestantism which basically brought on the Enlightenment with the fundamental idea that each individual man should be the interpreter of God's wisdom and the source of his own salvation and destiny: each man was to make the bible a living testament adequate to the age of his time and to the growing sciences that such individual investigations produced. The U.S. Constitution was a product of the Enlightenment and certainly not of the Catholic Church, which must always maintain even to this day its ascendancy of the divine right to interpret scriptures for everyone else. What I am suggesting is there is a kind of absolutism inherent in Scalia's view of the constiution, similar in kind to the differences between Catholic Church and Protestantism...

    Abraham Lincoln himself used the Declaration of Independence as a source for the argument against slavery in his Cooperstown Speech in 1860 arguing that the majority of the signers of the U.S. Constitution intended to stop the spread of slavery because they thought that the essence of slavery was a contradiction to the country's highest ideals, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Another way to put this is that Lincoln was INSPIRED by the Declaration of Independence and that this inspiration was calling for the ultimate abolishing of slavery. Although inspiration itself may lead a country through difficult conflicts and maybe even reparations and reconstruction, it is up to the individual to make such substantive documents alive and humanly relevant, and not an engraved tablet of absolute unchanging dicta of worship from God or Jesus Christ. So the differences involve tradition and absolutism and (in a way) divine right on one hand, and the freedom of the human spirit to investigate, to understand, and to creatively adjust the tradition toward a better future on the other--all this, for man and not gods......